Update from the Okanagan
Left to right: Evan Orloff, Melina Moore, Barb Pullan lighting the candles, Rebecca Morlang and Hilla Shlomi. (photo by Roger Tepper)
The Okanagan Jewish Community has been busy over the last couple of months. They are also gearing up for their annual golf tournament, which takes place in July.
On April 22, the OJC hosted a Passover seder at Summerhill Winery. Led by Allan Holender, approximately 150 people attended, including 30 kids under 12. Dr. Jessica Strasberg organized the children’s crafts and activities, Ronit Little made the charoset for all the tables and Steven Finkleman helped with many of the food preparations and putting together the 18 seder plates; David Spevakow and Barb Druxerman volunteered a great deal of their time on preparations and planning. Steven Cipes and his family, of Summerhill Winery, hosted the event.
Also in April, Cantor Russell Jayne from Beth Tzedec in Calgary came to the Okanagan to lead services. On May 7, with special guests from the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) in attendance, OJC member Evan Orloff led the services, after which there was a dairy potluck. A new rabbi has been contracted for the High Holidays this year and the OJC is looking forward to having Rabbi Lawrence Seidman and his wife Linda – who is also a rabbi – join them.
On May 15, Orloff and fellow OJC members Ed Aizen, Max and Peggy Mandelbaum, Barb Pullan, Hilla Shlomi and Seymour Zidle attended a Holocaust remembrance service held at the Lakers Clubhouse in Vernon hosted by the ICEJ. The event was put on because members of the ICEJ were greatly disturbed by the rising amount of antisemitism in the world. The ceremony included speeches, candlelighting and the presentation of a copy of the names on Schindler’s list encased in a replica suitcase which was accepted by Orloff on behalf of the OJC. Orloff is a retired teacher in Kelowna; he dedicated much of his career to educating students about the Holocaust and why it is imperative to remember. Melina Moore performed the theme song from Schindler’s List and sang Hatikvah. The service honored the lives of those who died in the Holocaust and the resilience and courage of survivors, as well as saying “never again” and “no” to antisemitism and prejudice in all its forms. The OJC is very grateful to the ICEJ, led by members Gail Mobbs and Daniel Morlang, for putting on such a touching ceremony.
During this past month, the OJC has had seven groups of students, ranging from 30 to 50 students per group from four middle and secondary schools in the area, participate in its Talks & Tours, hosted by OJC members Finkleman and Orloff. The students heard a presentation on Judaism and then enjoyed challah and grape juice with an explanation of the significance. Some of the schools attend the seminars annually, finding the presentations educational and interesting.
Last but not least, the 19th annual OJC Golf Tournament is being held on July 21. The money generated from the tournament each year enables the OJC to continue bringing in guest rabbis and cantors and to provide programming for the community; this year, part of the proceeds will also help Canadian Blood Services, a charity chosen in honor of the late Sid Segal. There is still room available for more golfers (and hole sponsors) so, if you are interested in participating in this day of golf, food, drinks and social interaction, visit ojcc.ca or contact Anne Zazuliak at the OJC office, 250-862-2305 or [email protected].